Saturday, 22 March 2014
MARCH MADNESS Feature-THE IDES OF MARCH
Who will take the court crown for their Ceaser and who will end up betrayed by the Baketball God's like Brutus? Like a Shakespeare story this worlds stage will have all the players gunning for the top position. Balls will roll and nets will be cut, but after all is said and done who will be holding the scissors? Anyone whose been through the triumph and tears of this great game know there as many upsets as celebrations to the tune of Freddie Mercury' singing 'We Are The Champions' with Queen. Who will be king in this terrific tournament? Man of the moment, Jabari Parker will have to wait for the draft for his biggest stage in basketball now the madness of this month have outted Duke after the went round for round with Mercer who showed them and the legendary Coach K no mercy. They "shocked the world" as the storied Kentucky Wildcats have vowed to do, clawing away at Kansas and making their NBA Rupp Arena alumni of Rajon Rondo, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Eric Beldsoe, John Wall, Derek Anderson, Walter McCarty, Tony Delk and many drafts more proud. Take a drive through the miles and miles of beautiful country in Kentucky and you can see the U.K. logos in every car, household or general store window...and as for the apparell it outfits everyone in a place thats powerful enough to have an NBA franchise but proud enought to know that Basketball begins, breathers and balls out with the 'cats of Big Blue Nation. Unless your in Muhammed Ali's home of Louisville, you can see what the mountain banners think of this.
This, however is the kind of beautiful rivarly and competitive spirit that makes this tournament and incarnation of basketball that influential and inspirational. All played out in television and uniformed up to the nines it all looks as professional as the biggest stage...and as a matter of fact it is exactly that. The big budget of the NBA may be the blockbuster, but the NCAA is like the indie hit thats worthy of the real awards. Sure you don't see the names of players on the back of some jerseys but unlike some other job or extra-class there's more credit here. They are more than just a number and you best believe the family of fans gathered around the television set for the biggest night of the week know who they are and welcome them into their household like their second name belonged to them. Some of these guys will graduate to the star statuses of the NBA, some will not. Some may bust, others may break out in a different way. Some may stay true to their community, whilst others may look for greener pastures. Some may have to work graveyard shifts on the full-time and others may join the factory assembly line to make end meat. Still, in this moment they are all together as one for the one thing that will live forever in the memories of their lifes moment like their framed jersey, whether there's is raised to the rafters, or lowered to the bargain basement. Whether they meet Larry O'Brien or Larry the cable guy little seperates these one for all young men right now. They could be making a million or a dime in the next decade or dozen but what happens over the next few days will remain the best and most influential moments of their lives and careers.
It's just that legendary. It's beyond the hype or adverts. You don't even need to see them to feel just how important this era is in this game and what this time every year does for this beautiful game of basketball that exists all over the world in many forms but does not 'live' quite like this. This is Basketballs superbowl, the real playoffs show here that between class and campus is where amazing truly happens. Tourists could go to New York and Los Angeles for their big game NBA experience, but travel across any town in the right time and you'll see the history of hoops dribbled through the city from slapped on t-shirts to ingrained pride and love. The stadiums are just as epic, the formidable facilities have to be for the worlds greatest stage. Take a look from your hotel balcony in Nashville and you may see more than the city that Cash and the country of Dolly Parton built. Vanderbilt's facility shows the Commodores play here for more than just 9 to 5 too like Lionel Richie's roots. Across football, baseball and the rims that make the holy trinity of American sports complete universities unite around the games they play and the contests that make them champion. It's a pure social psychology down to a science that brings math and history students together. It's box-score making moments that keep families invested in colleges even years after their grandkids have graduated. You could say it's more than a game even if it is the roundball that brings them here. It's the hometown heros that wear the name of their place of basketball birth across their chest with bumping, and jersey tugging pride, without carrying their own on their back. That's where their teammates, town and legion of fans belong. This is why the legendary likes of Kobe Bryant have missed out on more than just the final years of their careers. This is why college logos are seen fashioned all around the world on peoples caps and sweats even if they don't attend or understand. It's more than just a look it's a stronger vision than the NBA of Vitale shouting proud vitality. From the Big Ten's to the Pac's and the All-Americans to the Wooden awards this is what its all about. This is their moment...and yours too. It's more than the Sweet 16 or the Big Dance, its who will be the one in the last of the two couples of the Final Four. It's purely crazy! You don't have to beware of the ides of March, you just have to see them. March Madness is the NCAA...and the NCAA is Basketball.
"Wearing the UCLA uniform and playing 3 wonderful years there with GREAT players and fun experiences of the NCAA tournament was unmatched by anything else. That was the best 3 years of my life"-Tracy Murray (UCLA Grad, NBA great & Ball Up Coach)